The Tommy Awards Reviewers
The Reviewers for the 2012/13 Tommy Awards are:
Gail Becker Koppa
Gail Becker Koppa, has been a Cabaret Singer and Actress for over 20 years, including Voice-Over artist, she has been seen numerous times on stage across the country. Most recently, in Madison, she has performed with Four Seasons Theatre, Madison Opera, Forward Theatre, Savoyards, and Children's Theatre of Madison, and currently sings with the Wisconsin Chamber Choir. Gail freelances as a Musical Director and Musical Theatre instructor throughout Madison, and is a WSMA adjudicator. She also maintains her own private voice studio focusing on musical theatre and cabaret vocal techniques. Gail received a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Gretchen Bourg graduated with a BS in Art Education from UW-Stout in Menomonie, WI. She has danced corps and soloist roles in Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella, and Peter Pan in addition to other Madison Ballet productions. Ms. Bourg is currently a faculty member and Registrar at the School of Madison Ballet. She is also Madison Ballet’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, conducting dance and movement workshops throughout the community.
Sam is a student at Carroll University majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Theatre and Spanish. He is a graduate of Beloit Turner High School where he performed the roles of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Sir Harry in Once Upon a Mattress, Elijah in Moby Dick! The Musical and various roles in the ensemble drama The Laramie Project. He is the recipient of a 2012 Tommy Award for Outstanding Lead Performer for his role as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and represented The Tommy Awards at the 2012 National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City. Sam received many accolades for academic and sports achievements including 2012 Valedictorian of his graduating class, 1st place State Solo and Ensemble and Show Choir, 2012 Herb Kohl Excellence Scholarship, 2012 Wisconsin Scholar Athlete, 2012 Wendy's Heisman State Finalist and 2012 Turner High Drama EPSRIT Award as a lead actor.
Lindsay Christians is a full-time fine arts reporter for 77 Square, a weekly arts and entertainment publication produced by The Capital Times. There, her beat primarily covers theater, dance, opera, classical music and visual art. She received a Master of Arts in Theatre from UW-Madison in 2008. In 2009, she attended the O’Neill Theater Center National Critics Institute; in 2010, she went to Los Angeles for the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater at USC-Annenberg. For the third year, she will lead the Overture Center Tommy Awards' Student Critics Program.
Brian Cowing is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University with a degree in Musical Theatre. A native of Middleton, Wisconsin, Brian has worked with many theatre companies in the Madison area. He has directed and choreographer for Four Seasons Theatre, as well as directed for Children’s Theatre of Madison’s Summer Drama School. He has also worked with the Clinton Showboat Theatre as a company member and resident choreographer. At OCU, Brian served as producer of the student-run theatre company, OCUstripped, and performed in numerous productions.
Ross Cowing is a retired music educator. His love of musical theatre began in high school through involvement in the musical and technical aspects. He has been active in Madison musical theatre as an accompanist with Four Seasons Theatre, University Theatre, Children’s Theatre of Madison, and First United Methodist Church’s Opera Productions. He has been a Tech Director for middle school and high school musical productions. Ross is a ’73 graduate of UW-Madison.
Terry Cremin is a native of Chicago, IL and has made his home in Madison, WI for the past thirty-even years. He retired from teaching after thirty three years with the Madison Public Schools. Long active in the Madison arts scene having acted with Broom Street Theater and Mercury Players, he also directed plays for LaFollette High School. He counts among his favorites, The Music Man, Anything Goes, The Boyfriend and Bye, Bye, Birdie. Currently he writes a blog featuring book and movie reviews.
(Bolz Center alumna 2012) currently works as the Production Office Manager at the regional Tony Award and three-time Olivier Award winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Previously in Madison, she worked as Programming Coordinator at Overture Center. Her previous positions at Overture Center include Development Assistant and Kids in the Rotunda Coordinator 2010/11. Having worked all over the country, her professional experience is also all over the map including production design, scenic painting, prop shopping, stage management, fundraising, administration, and front of house work. Before her employment at Overture Center, Meryn worked for various companies such as Glimmerglass Opera, the Yale School of Music’s Opera and Philharmonia Orchestra, The Goodman Theater, The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, and Syracuse Stage. She holds a BFA in Drama Design/Tech (Set Design) from Syracuse University.
Darrell Francis Dieringer
Darrell Francis Dieringer is an independent ballroom dance instructor and professional rhythm dance competitor based in Madison, WI. He teaches group classes and private lessons for everyone from casual dancers to amateur competitors. His unique approach borrows from other movement disciplines, emphasizing not the reproduction of steps, but the fluid, comfortable, and expressive creation of movement. Darrell especially enjoys helping people to unlock their own talents and seeing them discover greater confidence and elegance on the dance floor.
Adam Erdmann serves as the Development Director for the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Prior to that he worked for Madison Children’s Museum as their Development Coordinator. Adam earned his B.F.A. in Arts Administration with a minor in Theatre from Viterbo University in La Crosse. While attending Viterbo, he worked extensively in stage management. His work with Madison companies includes MadCAP, Madison Repertory Theatre, and Music Theatre of Madison. On the weekends, you can find him in the Overture Center box office.
Laurie Fellenz is the Fine Arts Teacher Leader for the Madison Metropolitan School District. Prior to assuming this position, Laurie was an instrumental music educator for twenty years, most recently at Cherokee Heights Middle School in Madison. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from UW-Eau Claire and holds a Master of Science in Educational Administration degree from Cardinal Stritch University. Since she became involved with musical theatre during high school, Laurie has been in more than 30 pit orchestras as a musician and a conductor. She was the conductor for the Four Seasons Youth Theatre productions of Les Miserables, Once On This Island and Footloose. In addition, she has conducted twelve musicals for Madison Memorial High School since 1999.
Theresa Fosbinder has been involved in theater for over 12 years as a producer, stage manager, props designer and front of house operations manager. If you looked closely enough, you may also have seen her in a couple of brief on-stage appearances. She has worked extensively with Oregon Straw Hat Players and also with Four Seasons Theater, Sun Prairie Civic Theatre, Stoughton Village Players, Brown-Ullstrup Productions (Kenosha), Madison Theatre Guild/Bartell Theatre, CTM, Verona Area Community Theatre, Music Theatre of Madison, Oregon High School, and LaFollette High School. For the past 25 years, Theresa’s day job has involved working with public programs for the low income population – that’s “what you do with a BA in English”! She is currently the Patient Services Project Director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
Leslie Frank-Taylor made her stage debut at the age of 5 at Timber Lake Playhouse, the theatre her father and friends started in Illinois, in 1962. She brings a wide range of professional experiences to her creative work. She has provided costume design, makeup design, wardrobe support, wigs, set painting and other creative support to professional tours such as Wicked, Billy Elliot, The Lion King & Cats, to local productions by Madison Opera, Madison Ballet, CTM, Four Seasons Theatre, Forward Theater, Savoyards, as well as many community and school productions. She has also performed with Ken Lonnquist and the Whateverlys, and the Kenland Players. She is one of the founding members of Madison’s Isthmus Vocal Ensemble. Leslie really looks forward to seeing all the great talent our Wisconsin students have to offer over the coming months!
Emily Gruenewald received a BA in Theatre Arts with an acting emphasis from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. For the past decade she worked in arts administration holding positions with Children's Theatre of Madison, Madison Youth Choirs, and Janesville Performing Arts Center. Recently she left arts administration to work in higher education, but her commitment to the arts remains fervent as she currently serves as a board member of Janesville Presents!, an organization that produces a series of professional arts events in Janesville, and as a frequent volunteer in Rock County.
Brian Hinrichs is currently working on his MBA at the Bolz Center for Arts Administration. Prior to that, he was the Manager of Communications and Community Outreach for Madison Opera. At Madison Opera, he was responsible for the implementation of the High School Apprenticeship Program and Madison Opera Book Club, in addition to many new community collaborations and social media initiatives. Prior to his work in Madison, Brian was a 2007-2008 Fulbright U.S. Student Fellow to Thailand, where he conducted research on the fusion of Western classical and Thai musical traditions in contemporary performance and composition. Originally from Bay Shore, New York, Brian graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University with a B.A. in English and music. He has worked at Glimmerglass Opera and Chamber Music magazine, and his writing has appeared in Symphony magazine.
Michelle A. Kaebisch
Michelle brings more than eleven years of expertise as a public school music educator and professional musician to her position as Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Recently, she authored the toolkit, “HeartStrings: A Guide to Music Therapy-Informed Community Engagement for Symphony Orchestras.” She holds a BS degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, taught high school orchestra in the Stoughton Area School District and has served as a violinist the MSO since 1993. She remains active in the Wisconsin School Music Association and is a sought after clinician and conductor for various camps, festivals and honors orchestras. Since becoming MSO’s Director of Education in 2006, her vision for the MSO’s Education and Community Engagement Programs have led them to receive national recognition and accolades, including the League of American Orchestras (LAO) with MetLife Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
Marguerite Luksik is a native of Johnstown, PA. She trained with the Allegheny Ballet Academy under Deborah Anthony and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Graduate Program as well as summer programs with Boston Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. In June 2002, Ms. Luksik participated in an exhibition performance at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Marguerite currently performs with Madison Ballet, and is on faculty with Madison Ballet School. She has also danced professionally with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin, Chicago Ballet, and Peoria Ballet. She has performed works by choreographers such as Steven Mills, Stanton Welch, Ben Stevenson, Terrence Orr, Thaddeus Davis, and Paul Gibson. Some of her favorite roles include First Violin in George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Sugar Plum Fairy in Earle Smith’s The Nutcracker, Puck in Peter Anastos’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Spring Fairy in Earle Smith’s Cinderella.
Tracey Lyons is a costume designer and instructor at UW-Whitewater. She has designed costumes and/or makeup for the Canadian Broadcast Company, Lincoln Theatre Guild, The Huron Playhouse, Madison Ballet, Madison Theatre Guild, American Folklore Theatre, and the University of Wisconsin – Madison Music Department and many other theatres. She has toured internationally with Vee Corporation’s SESAME STREET LIVE. Her professional scope includes classical and contemporary theatre dance, opera, and musicals. She earned her M.F.A. in costume design and technology from Wayne State University and a B.A. from The College of Saint Benedict, Saint John’s University.
Terry Kerr is an actress, director, educator and arts administrator, and is currently Director of Education at CTM. An inaugural member of the acting company at American Players Theatre, she has performed the work of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen, Moliere, and Marlow. Terry taught and performed with the Wisconsin Mime Company, voiced roles for education radio, and performed with area theaters. A faculty member at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Terry teaches acting, Shakespeare and presentation skills, and has directed over 20 productions.
Sarah works with a variety of arts organizations in the Madison Area. She serves as Managing Director for Four Seasons Theatre, General Manager for Forward Theater and Production Manager for the UW Varsity Band Spring Concert. She is the 2008 recipient of the Bartell Award for Excellence in the Arts. She holds an MBA degree in Business from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration, an MS degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from UW-Madison. She is the Program Director for various program within the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies. Sarah maintains a private music studio and has taught in both the Middleton-Cross Plains and Madison Metropolitan School Districts.
Jeannie McCarville has been involved with River Valley Players, a community theater group in Spring Green, in various roles since 1999. Since joining RVP, she has also directed and assisted with many of the River Valley High School musicals. Jeannie is in her fifth season at American Players Theatre where she is currently the house manager of Touchstone Theatre, APT's newest venue.
Heather Murn fell in love with the stage while growing up in Mineral Point, acting in H.S. musicals and community theater productions. She went on to get her BA Acting Specialist and English Literature degrees at UW-Madison, then moved to London and got her MA in Arts Criticism & Management at City University in the Barbican Centre. On the West Coast, Heather was a theater critic for The Tablet, and worked in various capacities for ACT Theatre of Seattle, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Opera, Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara and Rubicon Theatre Company of Ventura. Locally she has acted or directed for CTM, University Theatre, The Winter Project, First Banana Productions, Alley Stage, River Valley Players and Shake Rag Players. Heather loves her current occupations as Overture Center’s Group Sales Manager and board member of Shake Rag Alley Center for Arts and Crafts in Mineral Point, where she coordinates a writing residency program in partnership with Council for Wisconsin Writers and Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Heather is also the Staging Coordinator for the annual Tommy Awards, a most rewarding and heartwarming duty!
Tim Sauers is Vice President of Programming & Community Engagement at Overture Center for the Arts. Tim also served for thirteen years as Program Director at Urban Gateways: Center for Arts Education in Chicago. He was responsible for the research, planning, development, marketing and selling of school and community based programs reaching over 350,000 participants annually. He received his BA in Communication and Theatre Arts from Susquehanna University and holds Master of Arts degrees in Theatre Direction from Michigan State University and in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago. For eleven years he was a freelance theatre critic for Gernhardt Publications and is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association. Tim has worked with organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Nevada Arts Council, the Chicago Park District, Project Exploration and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in program development, grant development and review, and conducting workshops and presentations.
Lynda Sharpe is an award-winning director and educator who has directed over 200 musicals and plays for university, community and high school theaters. Most recently she directed pieces in Forward Theater’s Monologue Festival, Children’s Theater Madison’s Young Playwright’s Festival and CTM’s summer drama program. Lynda’s direction has been seen off-Broadway, at the Edinburgh Fringe and around the state. She is the 2009 recipient of AATE’s national award for her work with high school musicals and plays. Lynda is an actress performing earlier this year in Good Night Moon (CTM), and Miracle on 34th Street (SSE). Lynda is active in new play development and was honored to direct a UK premiere. She presented at a national theater convention August 2011. Lynda has a Master of Arts degree in Theater from the University of Minnesota.